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Extreme weather brings spike in claims

THE HEAVY wind, rain and floods that hit northeastern Slovakia in mid-May caused damage to households in the affected areas totalling €1.8 million, while insurance companies expect still more claims and damages to be reported, the Sme daily reported on May 25. Since not all households in Slovakia are insured, the total cost of the damage is much higher.

THE HEAVY wind, rain and floods that hit northeastern Slovakia in mid-May caused damage to households in the affected areas totalling €1.8 million, while insurance companies expect still more claims and damages to be reported, the Sme daily reported on May 25. Since not all households in Slovakia are insured, the total cost of the damage is much higher.

Parts of the High Tatras as well as central and eastern Slovakia were devastated by extreme weather in mid-May. Insurance companies received reports from residents in the effected areas of high winds tearing the roofs from homes, fallen chimneys, cars damaged by fallen trees and flooding, among other problems.

The biggest insurance company in Slovakia, Allianz – Slovenská Poisťovňa, has so far registered almost 1,800 claims, with damages exceeding €1.06 million.

“Clients reported most claims in the regions of Poprad, Liptovský Mikuláš, Sabinov and in the vicinity of Košice,” said Artur Šturmankin, spokesperson of Allianz – Slovenská Poisťovňa, as cited by Sme. “The most common claims included torn off roofs, chimneys and gutter ways, [and] floods, fallen trees and damage to cars.”

Most reports are coming from insurance companies in the High Tatras, where households have also reported damaged rain gutters, fences, garden houses, cars and solar panels, as well as uprooted trees.

“We also have a case where the strong wind blew away a children’s trampoline, which then hit and damaged a parked car,” said Šturmankin.

Claims reported to Generali Poisťovňa amounted to about €470,000, but the insurance company expects damages and related claims to increase.

“We have reported a case in which the wind tore off a street lamp, which then broke the windshield of a car,” Lucia Makayová, spokesperson of Generali, told Sme.

ČSOB Poisťovňa registered almost 140 claims, with damages worth €300,000, with the claims confirming that the regions of Prešov and Košice in eastern Slovakia suffered the most damage.

The total bill for flood-related damage was not expected to exceed last year’s. However, the recent windstorm nevertheless caused significant damage to many households.

“The year 2013 was characterised rather by damage caused during the period of rain and snow melting in April and afterwards from the June floods,” Šturmankin estimated. “Wind damages usually occur in autumn. Annually we register wind damage in the thousands of euros.”

Insurance companies paid off €3 million in damages in summer 2013, when it was said that a 1,000-year flood inundated the country. The worst flooding was seen in Devín and Devínska Nová Ves, while other parts of Bratislava were endangered by high water, too. The recently built anti-flood protection system saved the city and its vicinity from worse destruction. Many people also remember the devastating floods from 2010.

“These caused at that time the biggest damages in terms of paid claims within the last 20 years,” said Makayová.

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